Festival Diary – Part 3

There are probably few feelings worse in life than standing in a confined, stinking plastic box, attempting to answer the call of nature whilst simultaneously trying to avoid dysentry, when the sound of an MC saying “Ladies and gentleman, please welcome to the stage…Broken Records!” floats from the stage, some hundred yards away, to your ears. You are then faced with a dilemma – to arrest mid-act and risk having to carry a pair of piss-stained jeans to Germany and back, or to take the extra minute to finish up, which will necessitate a sprint to the stage doing up your trousers, to the amusement of the backstage crew, as Ian and Rory play the loop at the start of Nearly Home over and over again on an otherwise empty stage. I opt for the latter.
As it has been several weeks since my last confession, and I have jumped ahead of myself somewhat, I will go back to the beginning with our trip up to Belladrum the preceding Friday. We were on the main stage this year which has a really nice setting, and there was a good crowd out for a Friday late afternoon too. The rain held off until we were just about finished packing the van after our set, so we ran to the catering tent for a bit of dinner, and indeed Davey “Two Meals” Smith managed to have, aptly, two meals. I went for one meal and two cakes as I have some sense of decency (and two cakes goes very well with two coffees), then we headed homewards for a Saturday of doing laundry and sleeping.

Festival Survival Tip #6 – You get more “bang for your buck” if you get down with the lentil brigade.

Sunday saw us heading south to The Big Chill, in glorious sunshine. We unloaded the van a few miles from the stage (that may be a slight exaggeration) and myself and Kas sat with the gear to wait for a trailer. Some hours later (that may be a slight exaggeration), a trailer arrived and we drove round to the stage, past the enormous abandoned tower of Vitamin Water(TM), and having only injured one or two suicidal pedestrians on the way. Once everything was in order I went off for a vegan burger (see Tip #6 above) and caught up with some friends while working on my “Scotsman’s Tan” (deep red). This brings us neatly round to the opening paragraph, when a few of us got caught out by an enthuasiastic clock, but having arrived sheepishly on stage we went on to play an enjoyable set. It took quite a while afterwards to get all the kit back to the appropriate loading point so we hung around backstage looking forlorn until they gave us some more free beer, then set off for the delights of the Travelodge (I think – I really need to start keeping a diary. Maybe we slept in the van. Who knows? Who even cares?).

Festival Diary – Part 2

The last couple of weeks has seen us playing at Latitude Festival and Truck, playing two different ends of the spectrum in terms of stages, the first being the main stage at Latitude which was quite an experience. One of the few times where we have felt there was almost too much space on the stage! We arrived there later than we expected on Friday due to the storm that seemed to follow us all the way down the M1, but an advance party had set off the day before and when we got there at around nine in the evening they had already set up all the tents which saved a load of hassle, thanks guys!

We had a good night, pottering about the site watching a few bands (Bat For Lashes and the Pet Shop Boys…), then headed to the small stage in the woods where the DJ’s were playing, and where I spent my time last year up a tree (I was a little more restrained on this occasion as I figured falling out a tree and breaking my arm would be a bit of a bummer as we were playing the next day). We then found a nice group camped near to us on the way home who invited us to sit by their fire, drink wine and talk nonsense into the wee small hours.

The next morning we arose around half ten and made our way over to the stage for about midday (again an advance party had already gone that way looking for showers and clean toilets, well they had been there a day longer than most of us). We unloaded all the bits and bobs, got our risers set up, of which we had three, one for Dave and one for Arne as well as the usual drum riser, then headed to the dressing room to drink coffee, read papers and generally timewaste until stage time. Once we had done our line check we were told to stay on the stage and just get started as they were trying to run the stage a little ahead of time, so we didn’t have our usual minute or two to get proper nervous/worked up which was a bit weird. It took a few songs to get the sound sorted on stage as it was just kind of “floating away”, but everything came together alright and the crowd grew steadily throughout (I think – to be honest I wasn’t looking out front much, despite being in the rare position of actaully being able to see everyone). And it didn’t rain!

Afterwards we packed up and headed round for tea, which, having only had liquids for breakfast, went down a treat. Although they didn’t have the World’s Best Chocolate Cake they had last year (the award for Best Cake 2009 loks to be going to Oxegen so far, but it could still be beaten…), they at least partially made up for it with a tooth-dissolving treacle tart. The advance party from Thursday were also staying for Thom Yorke and Nick Cave on the Sunday, but the rest of us who have less of a love of life under canvas made our way back home that evening.

We had a bit of a week off last week, before meeting up at nine on Saturday to drive down to Truck festival in Oxfordshire. This time we had good weather for the drive and we were there on time despite the van sporadically and mysteriously limiting itself to 45 miles an hour for long periods. The festival is on a farm and it it a nice compact site, plenty of local traders on so on, and normal food and beer prices which is always good. We got parked up near the stage and went to see a few bands, caught some of We Were Promised Jetpacks in the Barn Stage (located, unsurprisingly, in a barn) which had signs around the walls saying “Warning – These walls are made of asbestos, Do Not Touch”, which was an interesting location for a loud, vibration-heavy rock concert. The sun stayed with us until stage time, this time we were playing on the Market Stage, a small “big top” style tent with an easily-undulating stage which gave the impression of playing on a boat when everyone started stomping away during Nearly Home (we even managed to bounce the trumpet clean out of Dave’s mouth). It was a good set, pretty fast and energetic, good crowd, and had a bit of a “held together with sellotape” vibe. Afterwards we headed over The Field Of Money (I hadn’t managed to walk past here once all day without finding cash lying around) to the Didcot Rotary Club Food Tent, where acquired a burger and some coffee before making the long drive back to Edinburgh, arriving at around 05:30 on Sunday morning. Just in time to fall asleep until mid-afternoon…

We don’t have anything on this weekend so it’s back to practicising until we head off to Belladrum the week after that. I don’t really know what to do with myself to be honest. I need to take up some kind of (free) hobby, suggestions welcome. Anyways hope you all had good weekends, remember Monday is just another day and it will be over soon.